Our very own Bellevue Badminton Club Junior Team traveled to Los Angeles to compete in the 2014 Junior Nationals from July 1-6. This year we brought our largest team ever of 42 juniors and five coaches, with 21 of them participating in Junior Nationals for their first time. Out of 427 juniors competing at the tournament, the largest Junior Nationals to date, Bellevue secured six medal finishes.
Adrian Unruh made the semi-finals in all three events and took the podium with a third place finish in U15 Boys Doubles. Ben Chen also claimed third place in U17 Boys Doubles while appearing in both the doubles and singles semi-finals. Jenny Jin rounded out the medal count for the team with a fifth place finish in U19 girls doubles.
Over the six days of the tournament Team Bellevue caused a few upsets, won and lost some close matches, but most of all battled and played hard. Our juniors showed respect to their opponents, to their coaches, and to the game at all times.
Many months of hard work and planning went into sending Bellevue's largest group ever to Nationals, and for that we thank Coaches May and Nick for organizing, as well as coaches Bobo, Lindsay, and Curtis. In the midst of a few injuries, Matthew Kirschenbaum offered his athletic taping services to quell injuries. A huge thanks also goes out to all the parents able to help with carpooling and organizing lunches for 50+ people for each day of the tournament.
The week revolved around the tournament but the kids also were able to relax and watch fireworks or enjoy ice cream by the pool on the 4th of July. But even immediately after the tournament was over, most of the juniors wanted to keep playing badminton which warranted a trip to OCBC, a nearby club, for some additional play.
Next year the Junior Nationals will be held in Orlando, Florida, and all the juniors from the Team are committed to train hard and compete again next year (hopefully not just because it will be next to Disney World). One observation shared by many at the tournament was even in the later stages of the tournament when most kids were out of the competition, our juniors would jump on the courts between matches to get more playing time in. The passion for the sport is evident in our Team, and the future looks very bright as we refocus our efforts for the coming season.
Keep an eye out for the Member Appreciation Tournament on September 1. Sign up to play, or kick back and watch with food and good company. Until then, see you on the courts!